Me too PB. I have a Special 20 on the way and I also have a couple of Hohner Pro harps. One in C, the other in G. Knowing little to nothing about the harmonica I bought the G because I love the violins G string so much. I was thinking much the same as you…That a custom would have to be made. My problem is I don’t know where the difference (quality difference, that is) would come in. Vibration is the only movement and this oscillation will cause degradation over time. Remember though that a Rolls will need filter replacements, a Rolex will need cleaning and a Dunhill a reaming sooner or later. This is not lack of quality but rather normal maintenance. A violin will need an adjustment of the sound post and new strings from time to time.
I’m always interested in what, exactly makes a fine object fine. The harmonica is one of the most difficult for me to define. Materials and fit would come into play but I suspect there is more. I believe I read that Mr. Allen considers a wooden reed to be fallible due to moisture absorption. This makes sense but would it be worth it (for the pro) to have enough “stand by’s” to use wood? I know, I know, I can pick this apart till the cows come home.
It would seem that good covers and a “bolt action” quality fastening system (screws) would come into play. It’s the object that produces frequency that seems a variable.
Cars are so evenly matched on the racing circuit that the expression is that it’s the driver, not the car that makes a difference. So it goes with musical instruments. An inferior harp in the hands of anyone reading this post would seem more valuable than the finest in my hands.
I’ve been playing the violin for nearly forty years. My fiddle is a copy of a Jacob Stainer. They are known for their high arched belly between the F holes. It is not what a professional would use. But for me it is just fine.
Mr. Allen has said that he uses the Hohner Special 20 all the time. Keeping this in mind, I also know that many people of great wealth drive standard cars, wear Timex watches and smoke corn cob pipes.
My goal is to have fun and rewards with the harmonica. Not to own the best. But, I do want to understand exactly what is considered the best. And, why it is so good.
I guess there are so many negatives to humanity that I have a great time focusing on the positives that humans can create. A Trek bicycle is one, a plastic heart valve is another. There is no end to the parade of human achievement. Be it pos or neg, I’m interested in the best harp.